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Equine Epiphysitis:  Can’te 11 yr old TB gelding

 

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Can’te 11 yr old TB gelding bred for Polo, contracted epiphysitis as a weanling in the fetlocks in all 4 legs and the knees. Epiphysitis is a  bone disease in growing horses, characterised by enlargement of growth plates in long bones (such as the tibia, radius, and cannon bones).

Corrective trimming helped to turn the cannon back at about 8 degrees, yet the fetlock remained laterally bowed. He was not started until 5 years of age and when he was sent to the trainers to be started, the work proved to be too much and he was returned with about 80% soundness. Can’te was rested and put on very light, judicious and gentle work but was never quite the same as before he was sent to training.   Inflammation of the lateral collateral ligament was pinpointed and the ligament was injected with 60mg of Depomedrol periligamentously on the lateral collateral ligament of the fetlock which brought him to about 95% soundness for a year until the next fall where it was strained again playing too hard in the paddock. This time the lateral collateral ligament was injected as well as the fetlock joint with Depomedrol 40mg/ml leaving him at about 95% soundness again.

About 8 weeks ago he again overstressed the joint playing in the pasture and this time instead of re-injecting him I put him on a regimen of boswellia, msm, glucosamine and chondroitin which improved discomfort on the flexion of the joint but he had minimal movement, accepting manual flexion of about 30%. 

I worked with Can’te and his carer Karen, on a USA workshop in Wyoming. This case that emphasized working continuously with a few remedies to achieve successful results. Barley grass, rosehip shells, peppermint, wild carrot seed and German chamomile, which were his key remedies. What was fascinating was that he needed to inhale peppermint before being able to orally select wild carrot seed. He continued to alternate between the two remedies for at least 40 minutes, highlighting the importance of continuously re-offering selected remedies. 

After working with the herbs and essential oils, the amount of flexion increased another 30%, and he began to move more freely in the pasture the next day cantering and bucking downhill quite confidently. Two weeks later the range of flexion was still increasing. What is of great interest is that he maintains a sense of self-preservation knowing his limitations. This gives hope that while being a horse free in the pastures, we will be able to maintain a measure of longevity for his exercise under saddle and well being.

Karen: “Wish you could have seen him on Sunday, cantering downhill on the right lead and then doing a flying change as he had to go left at the bottom of the hill.”